Just like the ever-expanding universe, the cannabis industry is finite yet boundless. It’s 2020, and people are more accepting of the marijuana revolution that they were a decade ago. The culture of weed has stepped out from the shadows and has been brought to light. It has caused quite a stir in the market as well as in the consumption preferences of people.
We can safely say that the weed industry is on a roll! Quite a lot of states have legalized the consumption of medicinal marijuana, and some have also decriminalized recreational marijuana for adults. I suppose it’s only time that the rest of the states will follow this ever-growing trend and join the world in embracing cannabis.
In 2018, the marijuana medical and adult-use market was a sizable $12 billion, and according to the report by Arcview Group, it’s going to see an increase of up to $23 billion in the US alone and about $32 billion all over the world in 2022.
A year ago, when people mentioned marijuana, all I could conjure up in my head was smoking, vaping and oh, the love for pot brownies and cookies! But very recently, I saw the recipe of marijuana mojito, and honestly, I’ve noticed a sudden rise in the consumption and growth of the cannabis beverage industry.
If you love and absolutely love weed, you should definitely try out the marijuana mojito. It will turn your dull, dreary afternoon into a sweet, sweet delight!
The infusion of cannabis into drinks is transforming and revolutionizing the beverage industry and definitely the consumption trends in people. Whether it’s beer, coffee, wine, water, tea, elixirs, energy drinks ,or soda, you name it, and we can find THC and CBD infused in it.
The health benefits of CBD has brought to the table the vast array of wellness drinks that has opened up a new category under the weed cannabis beverage category.
What is it that’s drawing people out of their social group activity of smoking up and making them want to experiment with weed drinks?
- Compared to the conventional method of consuming marijuana through smoking, beverages are seen as a healthier way to ingest cannabis.
- With cannabis-infused in drinks, it’s easier to control the dosage. A lot of companies are trying to bring personalization onto the table for better customer experience. It would help the customer decide the amount of cannabis, the amount of concentration that they would like their marijuana-infused drink to have.
- It’s easier for people to consume cannabis in public spaces like restaurants, supermarkets, bars, etc. in the form of cannabis-infused beverages.
- Evidence suggests that the effect of cannabis, the feeling of being ‘on edge,’ can be curtailed if it’s infused in a caffeinated drink.
CANNABIS-INFUSED BEVERAGE MARKET
Alcohol consumption has been declining globally for the last five years. Thus, not surprisingly, the US beer companies have been the forerunners in exploring and developing THC and CBD infused beverages.
The big giants are forging partnerships with beverage, alcohol, and bio-research companies to bring cannabis drinks to the market. Canopy Growth, Canadian cannabis producers, received a substantial investment of $4 billion from liquor giant Constellation Brands. On the increasing opportunity in the cannabis industry, CEO Rob Sands said:
“With our focus on continuous growth, we’ve recognized the significant opportunity that the emerging cannabis space presents as potentially one of the significant global growth opportunities of the next decade… This [the $4 billion investment] will be the largest investment to date in the cannabis space, a market which is expected to reach more than $200 billion in retail sales globally within the next 15 years, and one that is opening up much more rapidly than originally anticipated.”
Labatt, a subsidiary of AB InBev, the owner of Budweiser brand, recently partnered with Tilray, another Canadian weed producer. Tilray CEO Brendan Kennedy believes that it is the beverage market that will ultimately dominate the cannabis industry. Weed consumption via smoking would consist of only 10%, whereas weed drinks consumption would consist of 90%.
Lagunitas, a craft beer company, owned by Heineken, has launched a beer-flavoured sparkling water called HiFi Hops, that contains both THC and CBD. Hexo Corp is in a joint venture with Molson Coors Brewing Company to develop marijuana-infused drinks to provide to the Canadian market.
With the beer market exploring and experimenting with weed, the wine industry is also taking steps in the direction. They have started to develop weed-infused wines. California, the state that has been making the boldest decisions in the cannabis industry, has released two CBD infused wines: Chardonnay x Sour Diesel and Red Blend x Headband.
Quite a few CBD infused wineries have sprung up in California, Ontario, Catalonia and have released CBD-infused wines. A winery in Temecula Valley, California, released an alcohol-free wine infused with CBD. Texas released several CBD-infused wines.
An Ontario based winery Mary Jane’s Magical Hemp Wines/ Black Prince Winery, released a CBD-infused ice wine along with several other CBD-infused wines and gin. Canna Wine, a CBD-infused wine producer in Catalonia, Spain, exports their wine to the UK.
Starbucks, Pepsi, and Coca-Cola, have no plans to pursue marijuana-infused beverages. However, there have been rumors suggesting Coca-Cola’s intention to partner with Canadian based Aurora Cannabis to develop marijuana-infused beverages. It’s no big surprise since Coca Cola originally contained cocaine, which was later replaced with caffeine.
PROBLEMS FACED BY THE CANNABIS-INFUSED BEVERAGE INDUSTRY
Due to the consumer shift in the preferences of the consumption of beverages, major players are moving towards the cannabis-infused beverage industry. However, they have quite a few problems that they are facing.
Cannabinoids are fat-soluble rather than water-soluble and, hence, while creating weed beverages, the makers have to face the age-old problem of mixing oil and water.
Another problem is that because cannabis is fat-soluble, whenever it is ingested orally, it needs to reach the liver before it is metabolized in order to experience the psychoactive or therapeutic effects. This is the reason why the onset time of marijuana-infused beverages is heavily delayed, making the experience and effect unpredictable. The results are not felt for up to 90 minutes.
Companies like Tilray, Vitality Biopharma, Emerald Health Therapeutics, Trait Biosciences, Ascent Industries, Chemesis International, and Sproutly Canada are trying to develop ways to make cannabis water-soluble and easily absorbable.
Another problem faced by the weed-infused beverage industry is the taste. The taste can be a huge problem since a lot of people find the odor of cannabis repulsive and unappealing. Hence, cannabis producers are partnering with bio-tech research companies to create more palatable and appealing beverages that people would enjoy and are are more likely to consume.
WHAT INFLUENCES THE FUTURE OF THE CANNABIS MARKET?
The intensive research, continually evolving market, and people’s preferences with new products being brought into the market, the cannabis beverage industry is continuously changing. So what exactly influences the market trends?
- Consumer preference: The customer is the key. The beer industry had to shift its focus to the CBD infused beverages because of the falling demand for alcohol. The shift in the consumption trends is what drives the market primarily. What the public demands, the producer needs to deliver. The increase or the decrease in customer demands will determine the future of the weed-infused beverage industry.
- Product Innovation: Cannabis beverage companies are trying to focus on improving transparency around then ingredients. They are trying to make cannabis-infused products more personalized and convenient with ready to drink packaging. They are also focusing on sustainable packaging and personalized strains.
- Brand endorsement and influencers: Quite a lot of stars endorse the consumption of cannabis. Rihanna, Miley Cyrus, Jennifer Aniston, Snoop Dogg, Tommy Chong, Morgan Freeman, with recent addition of Carlos Santana, have advocated the consumption of weed, and their endorsement brings about a change in the way the masses think. Linking the name of a celebrity with a CBD brand increases the demand and further expands the market.
THE FUTURE OF THE CBD-INFUSED BEVERAGE MARKET
The primary focus of current research studies in the CBD-infused beverage market is CBD purity. More transparency is needed regarding dosage levels, ingredients, product packaging, and labeling for consumers.
It is mandatory for manufacturers in Indiana to label CBD products with QR codes that can be scanned in order to receive information and show whether they contain acceptable levels of CBD, THC, pesticides, and other compounds.
Many companies are using nano-emulsion to infuse CBD in beverages to overcome the problem of mixing fat and water. However, the fat-based nano-particles have been known to cause health problems by accumulating in organs. Hence the primary concern and a priority for the majority of the companies is to create water-soluble CBD.
Just like how CEO Sands said, it is likely that the CBD beverage industry would be the next big thing, seeing massive consumption and economic growth. Changing laws and scientific advancements is certain to bring an enormous difference in the beverage industry by exploring the potential of marijuana.
With a lot of health benefits, people are embracing the green world of cannabis and experimenting with ways of consuming it. THC and CBD is available both in alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. It is available in varying concentrations for all kinds of consumers – beginners or regular users. The market is ever-expanding, and a lot of companies are investing heavily to bring a variety of drinks to people.
The only way people can enjoy is by exploring and being safe. If you are a beginner, it is advisable to note the dosage and also wait for the drink to kick in. It takes time for your body to absorb and feel the effect of weed. So, as long as you are safe and following the legal laws of your state, all’s well and canna-be-fun!